Trump will "temporarily suspend" immigration, but it's not clear what will change
Late last night Trump tweeted that he will "temporarily suspend immigration" to the U.S. because of coronavirus. However, this may be primarily anti-immigrant political messaging, instead of substantial policy change.
(Screenshot of Trump's Tweet)
U.S. embassies abroad are already closed, so no new visas are being issued, and local immigration offices in the U.S. are also already closed, so no new green card (lawful permanent residency) or citizenship applications are being approved. It has been reported in the Wall Street Journal that administration officials have clarified that Trump's order will not make "substantial" changes to current U.S. policy and won't affect visa renewals. Actually suspending renewals or the acceptance of applications, which might put foreign nationals already in the U.S. in danger of losing their current legal status, would create chaos likely to result in legal court challenges, like those inspired by Trump's other more extreme immigration policies.
The only certainty this administration's immigration policy provides is uncertainty, but we will provide updates as soon as they become available in order to best guide clients through what may be Trump's latest political provocation. An executive order may be signed as soon as today.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss about the relevant legal issues.